Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-three Mariners, One Megastorm, and The Sinking of El Faro by Rachel Slade (4 out of 5)

It’s so funny how things work out. I had read an article in Vanity Fair last month about this. I hadn’t remembered it when it happened, but not a surprise with my advanced age of 45. 😉 I passed that article onto Nancy’s husband, because he likes anything with weather. This book is described on the back as being a cross between The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air. I would say that describes it perfectly. I enjoyed the narrative, although sometimes the epic battle of Mother Nature coupled with loss of life gets a bit old. The nautical terms really lost me, but otherwise, a harrowing read from start to finish. Mother Nature is not to be messed with. You just hope that people will pay heed and not throw caution to the wind, but human nature doesn’t work that way. All nature shows, weather programs, books, and the daily newscast are full of people who just go with the thrill of it and the adrenaline rush and sadly, not everyone makes it out alive. This is a prime example.

In October 2015, a container ship named El Faro is heading into the Bermuda Triangle (THE Bermuda Triangle of infamy), trying to steer around Hurricane Joaquin. Captain Michael Davidson is an enigmatic presence in the pages leading up to the tragedy and the aftermath. What possessed him to believe he could outrun a hurricane? I did spend a good portion of the book swearing at the captain. I felt like I personally knew all of the doomed crew, because Slade does such a thorough job at telling the reader about all of them. The fact that the crew was questioning many of Davidson’s commands makes this even more tragic. You almost hope that they would overpower him and take control, but this isn’t a Hollyweird movie. This really happened, and it wasn’t a happy ending. This isn’t just about a misguided captain, the unpredictability of Mother Nature, and The El Faro’s doomed fleet, but it blows open one of the oldest industries in the US- the shipping industry. You come away from a narrative like this hoping that this kind of tragedy won’t happen again, but the likelihood of it happening is still there, unless changes are made to the way this cutthroat industry operates in this country. That’s right; I DID use the word cutthroat. Not to mention global warming putting its own stamp on things with unpredictable weather patterns spawning all sorts of massive natural disasters. All in all, this ship and its occupants never stood a chance. I hope the collective public takes note of Slade’s expose on the shipping industry, and things change, so this kind of crap doesn’t happen again. A great read. The folks at Ecco Press, an imprint of Harper Collins, brought us this book. I thank whomever sent me the advance. It is out in hardcover in your local bookstore. Definitely worth a read.

~ by generationgbooks on June 6, 2018.

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